Wednesday, July 10, 2013

... Had to Cruise On Back Home

It’s that time of year when many of us take vacations, stay-cations or even just a few good, long weekends.  It’s a chance for us to forget about work; to unwind with family; and maybe to enjoy the little ones in our lives.  If you’re a neurotic, anxiety-prone, middle-aged father of four – hypothetically speaking – it's also yet another opportunity to obsess on all that you still want to accomplish in life.
Too much sharing?  Maybe.

I, for one, just love vacation.  I love the feeling you get when you first arrive at your destination, unpack your bags, and are able to mentally and physically step away from all the things that cause you stress on a daily basis – the bills, the work deadlines, the endless afterschool activities, the lawn, the laundry, the everything.   When, for a brief moment, you're able to forget all that junk and fully decompress.  It’s a feeling that really only comes in the first few days of a break from the daily grind. 

Sometimes, I wish I could take that feeling and bottle it.  Then I’m reminded, someone already has.  It’s called rum.

But seriously.  I'm not talking about the rum-induced feeling some of us also get on vacation, but that natural one that umbrella drinks can only try to imitate.  It's that feeling of true vacation relaxation, and it is special.  

Looking for seashells as the sun rises.
Over the course of the week that our family spent away from it all, I thought about that feeling a lot – that Jimmy Buffet-song inspired attitude most of us are only able to enjoy once we’ve set the autoreply on our work email accounts to “out of office,” and after we’ve traveled quite a distance to some random island, or beach, or cabin by the lake. 

Our family chose a beach on a coastal island in a warmer climate for our break from it all.   And relax we did – as much as possible, anyway, for a neurotic, anxiety-prone, middle-aged father of four and his immediate family. 

We spent our mornings on the sand, and our afternoons at the pool.  We planned our meals based on what we wanted to eat, not on what we had time to make between soccer practice and dance class.   And we woke each day because we wanted to, not because we had to.   

We got up early one morning to see the sunrise over the ocean.  We stayed up late one night to watch the fireworks.  We went for long walks in the evening, and bike rides at low tide.  And we got caught in a rainstorm, or two, or three.  But we didn’t mind.  Because we had nowhere else to be, no real reason to stay dry, and no one else we’d rather get caught in the rain with.

And when I thought about all the things I have yet to accomplish in life, all the goals yet achieved, all the stories yet untold, I kept coming back to that feeling.  Sure, I’d like to find great success in my career.  I’d like to be rich.  I’d like to get published.  (Those two are not related).   But what I really want is to do is find that feeling more than once a year.  I’d like to find a way to get that feeling every day.  I’d like to live a life with that feeling as the norm, not the exception.
Maybe that’s impossible.  Maybe, no matter what you do, it becomes the daily grind. And the only way to find that feeling is to break the routine, go someplace else, and do something else, if for only a few days.

Maybe the phrase, "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there," applies universally to all things related to vacations.  

Maybe you can only get that particular feeling once a year?
I don’t know the answer.  But I’d sure like to try and find it.
Too much sharing?

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